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Worcester Births, Marriages and Deaths

 

Compiled by FranklinP. Rice

Worcester, Mass.: Worcester Society of Antiquity.

1894

 

Preface to the Worcester Births, 1714-1848.The publication of the Worcester Births has been delayed more than a year in consequence of the labor necessary to the complete revision of the list after the first compilation had been made. The original plan contemplated only the classification and printing of such names as were recorded in the town books, but the many evidences of incorrect entries in these volumes and of omissions in the record of prominent families caused me to suspend the work until I could ascertain whether these imperfections could, to any extent, be rectified. Investigation convinced me that the effort would be well rewarded, and, after consultation with the City Clerk, who approved my purpose to make the printed register as complete as possible, I entered upon the task without, as now appears, anything like an adequate comprehension of its magnitude or the length of time it would require.

 

The measure of success resulting can be judged when it is stated that 1,141 names have been added to the original list, a large number of wrong names and dates corrected, and fully one-third of the whole verified by other records or by satisfactory testimony. Evidence of the labor and of the careful attention required appears only in a limited degree in the printed page, but if reliability and completeness are taken into account the value of the list has been greatly increased.

 

The Baptisms of the First ("Old South") and Second (First Unitarian) Churches supplied more than three-fourths of the additions, and a few names were obtained from older church records. Family Bibles and papers in private hands were helpful in many instances. Proofs of the type have been submitted to representatives of the more prominent and numerous families, and many false entries have in this way been corrected. Some of these slips have been sent to distant parts of the Union; in many cases their retention has caused delay in printing and considerable vexation. I have exerted all reasonable effort to make families complete, including children born in other places whenever the data could be obtained. Some discrepancies I could not reconcile, and they appear as in the original.

 

The whole number of Births and Baptisms printed in the following pages is 9,552, 1,159 surnames being represented. Of these the town books supplied 8,411 names, which form the basis of the record. The additions are distinguished by brackets ( [ ) prefixed. Asterisks ( * ) indicate First Church Baptisms, daggers (f) those of the Second Church . Other sources of information are given in the text. The date of a Baptism is coincident with that of the Birth in very few cases. Generally before the year 1800 from two to ten days may be assumed as the interval, but later there are numerous instances in which the difference is much greater—weeks, months, and even years. In the absence of the Birth record the Baptism is the next best evidence in the majority of cases.

 

I have adopted the modern spelling in printing the surnames, but have retained the quaint forms of many of the given names in the older entries. My authority for the correction of the town record is given in the line following or at the end of the list of that name. No change has been allowed without evidence sufficient to justify it. The arrangement is alphabetical throughout, in conformity with that of the other records of the same class in the City Clerk's office. Abbreviations are little used: s. for son, d. for daughter, and the shortening of some of the month-names. A dash indicates a blank in the original. This compilation is offered as a further contribution to the Systematic History of Massachusetts.

 

Franklin P. Rice.

 

Worcester Marriages, 1747-1849.This printed register includes all the Marriages recorded in the town books from December 17, 1747, to January 1, 1849. No record of the Marriages from 1722 to 1747 is known to exist to-day, and there is no evidence to indicate that such record was made. A few entries of Marriages of Worcester parties which were solemnized in other places during the early period, made in recent years in conformity with the requirements of the Acts of 1857, are printed in the list.

 

Worcester Deaths, 1826-1848.This printed register includes all the Deaths of which record was made in the town books from January 1, 1826 to January 1, 1849. The Deaths from 1717 to 1826 will be found in connection with the Inscriptions from the Old Burial Grounds, published in 1878 as a part of the first volume of the Collections of The Worcester Society of Antiquity. The plan projected in 1889 for the publication of the second series of Worcester Town Records did not comprehend the continuation of the printing of the Deaths. A desire to make the records of the town organization complete in type, and other considerations, have induced the Editor to supply the list for the remaining twenty-three years, although the present volume has already exceeded the first estimate by more than one hundred pages.

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